Could This Be Mayfair’s Best Italian?

Bocconcini means small balls of cheese in Italian – the plural? Bocconcino. So, with delicious food offerings being at the helm of this food journey, it was looking like a Mayfair good’un. Bocconcino oozes high-end; from its central Mayfair location just a tumble away from Green Park and The Ritz, and its sunglasses-wearing clientele who duck in and out of the restaurant inconspicuously, signalling that this is the spot where art curators, influencers, footballers and the likes pop in for their Italian pick-me-up.

I, however, was somewhat less fearing of being papped upon entry and headed into the airy restaurant that can be accessed via a large wooden door, currently clad in flora and fauna – obligatory Instagram alert! The space transports you to the divine climes of Italy through rustic interiors which can be stumbled upon after making your way down a spiralling glass staircase. Bocconcino expertly manages to combine both open space with cosy atmosphere through embellishments of large, low hanging lights, oak tables and colours reminiscent of an orange grove. Noticeable attributes to the luxurious space include a gorgeous tree and a cellar-cum-orchard immersion as you eat surrounded by exposed brick, booths booming with wine serves and fish ready for the much displayed intriguingly by the busy open kitchen. When I think back to Bocconinco I think of the word ‘big’; big flavours, big bar and kitchen areas and a high-ceiling space that made it feel, well, big! The space was as generous as the menu.

Bocconcino serves up hearty Italian food that cleverly leaves you full but yearning for more. The masterfully put together dishes dip between classic and modern Italian cuisine, all to be enjoyed by a wine from the bountiful list. Going along on the Sunday of a bank holiday was perhaps a very wise choice on my part. Feeling a little seedy after a few G&T’s the night before, it was the ideal spot to indulge my queasiness in some rich, wholesome flavours. For starter, I went classic and ordered and ordered buffalo mozzarella with basil, pesto and baby plum tomato and my gosh, I can still taste the milky, stringy deliciousness. Arriving bulbous-like on my plate, the soft-as-a-cloud mozzarella partnered excellently with the flavour combo. My companion dipped into another classic of burrata with pesto and juicy tomatoes.

When it comes to wine, let the sommelier do the picking. Selected for us was a sensational Caparzo, Rossi di Montalcino 2016 which arranged plum and cherry aromas on the palette and paired well with each dish. My companion described it as “the same as drinking water, and yet it’s wine!” Onto the main event; I went completely off-piste – but then Bocconcino ignites a daring side, what can I say! The tuna steak, accompanied with chargrilled asparagus and tomato was one of the best dishes I’ve ever had. My only regret was getting the tuna medium rare as it did feel, at times, that I’d dipped my hand straight into the ocean, plucked the tuna out and plated it. Yet, for some, this is desirable where as I’d have liked it cooked more thoroughly – all of this, of course, comes down to my naivety and didn’t take away from the spellbinding flavour combo oozing off the plate.

Dessert is a must. Choose from a brimming selection from homemade Sicilian cannoli with pistachio ice cream, profiteroles with Chantilly cream and hot chocolate sauce and the famed Pizza Dolci, a Bocconcino staple of warm dough, cool mascarpone, shavings of dark chocolate and a variety of berries, that we can imagine comes equipped with the question “excuse me, how big is it exactly?”

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Alas, Bocconcino is a lip-smacking treat and one that requires your presence. It’s my favourite Mayfair Italian – there, I’ve said it – and I await the day I return with baited breath and dreams of cheese and wine. Service is good; staff are “on-point” with a water glass never seeking a refill, and if not for the food, then go for a people watch with Irish coffee in hand.

Bocconcino can be found at 19 Berkeley Street, Mayfair, W1J 8ED,

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